Saturday 22 September, probably the most important date in recent East Down history – the day of the fourth and final round of the Club Handicap series. And yet this historic occasion appeared to have been overlooked by many, admittedly in favour of some life saving searches for dinner jackets evening gowns and black ties writes Joe Quinn.
But whatever the reasons it is doubtful if a better setting or more favourable weather could have been found anywhere on these shores. Speaking of which the chosen route took in a sizeable stretch of Tyrella beach and the surrounding dunes and was not for the faint hearted. Indeed the only thing that kept many of us going and brought the spectators out too was the thought of the refreshments awaiting afterwards at Minerstown Tavern.
PYRAMID at TYRELLA?
And so it began at the Northern end of the beach with the turnaround point a mile away visible only to the sharp eyed or the fibbers. I couldn’t see it myself but reckoned if I kept going towards Rossglass I would eventually come to it – and sure enough there it was marked by 2 Down flags and a yellow tape, coincidentally the Club colours. Then it was back through the dunes, across the car park and towards the Pyramid! Some of you may have seen or heard of The Cube and it’s ability to reduce contestants to physical dyslexia.
Well, it has nothing on the Pyramid, a monster of a dune to be faced not once but twice in the course of the 2 lap race. Add the fact that having conquered the beast, the downhill “other side” is soft sand which fills your shoes and makes arriving at the bottom upright and forward moving an even bigger challenge.
Anyway shortly after 1.30pm Carmel Tumelty was the first of the 17 starters to set off and she bravely defended that lead until inside the last mile of the 5.5 Mile distance, a sterling effort on her part. Stars of the show were eventual winner Barrie Atkinson and runner up Cheryl Denvir who covered the distance in 35.04 and 42.35 respectively, with Francis Tumelty in 3rd place recording the second fastest time of 37.39.
There was good news and bad news for race organiser and master handicapper Declan Teague – the bad news being he had to drop out after twisting his ankle, the good news was he had the good fortune to do so before he encountered the Pyramid! How lucky is that? Lisa Milligan was another to succumb to the Pharaoh’s revenge courtesy of a leg injury and Oonagh Breteche, one of the most consistent performers in the 3 previous rounds, found herself outside the points this time Nevertheless everyone enjoyed the experience, opinions expressed only after normal speech had been resumed through copious applications of Irish stew, Tea, coffee, sandwiches, cakes and buns at post race refreshments.
Overall series winner was Kim Surginor, with Joe Quinn 2nd and the only person to score points in every round, Francis Tumelty, in 3rd.Thanks are due to Declan’s wife Tracey and daughter Anna for laying on a great spread of food afterwards, topped of by Declan’s Mum’s out of this world fruit cake, it’s actually Christmas cake but it’s out of season to refer to it as such, and Lisa and Elaine’s Mum’s Ginger cake. Several runners reported a significant increase in weight as a result and had to hit the road early on Sunday morning to run off the effects.
All in all a great series and one which will be repeated next year when participation might become mandatory as a rite of passage to membership. This is a joke, such a thought would never enter our heads.
HALF MARATHON SUCCESS
Next day Michael Cultra proved what a wise decision it was to bypass Tyrella as he recorded 1.29 in the decathlon Half Marathon on Sunday – a splendid PB and great confidence booster ahead of next month’s Dublin Marathon.
In keeping with all good reporting I must publish a retraction following something which was recorded in last week’s account of the Dublin Half marathon. It was inadvertently reported that Colum Surginor had crossed the line in 1 hour 50 minutes when in fact it should have read 1 hour 56 minutes. As you can imagine Colum was distraught at this glaring error and protested his innocence at such a slur, albeit accidental, on his credibility. Actually it was some of his fellow club members who alerted me to the error and I am happy to put the record straight but I really must get my glasses changed.
MOUNTAIN RUNNING SUCCESS
And finally a word of Congratulations to our almost honorary member and local girl Anne Sandford who was a member of the Northern Ireland Senior Women’s Mountain Running Team which took Bronze medals at the weekend’s Home Internationals in Wales. Well Done Anne.
Next Saturday sees the much anticipated and long awaited 25th Anniversary Dinner in La Mon House Hotel and an exciting and entertaining night is promised. Reports on that and the subsequent Sunday morning run may take a little longer than usual to produce and edit.
|13||13||Mark Mc Dowell||7||7|
|19||19||Denis Mc Kay||5||5|
|20||20||Michael Mc Keown||2||2||4|
|28||INDIVIDUALS 3 BEST SCORES OUT OF 4 TO COUNT|